In July, the Trump administration announced the reduction of troop numbers in Germany. The administration’s decision was in response to what is seen as Germany’s underspending on defense. The relocation of 12,000 troops from Germany will reduce U.S. reliance on the country, particularly for non-NATO activities. Many of the troops will be shifted to Poland.

It was also decided that the headquarters of the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) would relocate from Stuttgart. Following the decision, AFRICOM stated that it had launched its search for a new home.

Now, two South Carolina Republican senators, Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, recommend that AFRICOM’s HQ be moved from Stuttgart to Charleston, SC. They sent a letter to Defense Secretary Mark Esper stating that Joint Base Charleston (JBC) is an ideal location for AFRICOM’s headquarters. Their proposal is likely to be the first among many as the military searches for a new home for the command’s headquarters. 

Joint Base Charleston, “provides the existing infrastructure to meet […] operational needs while providing cost savings opportunities. One specific benefit is that JBC offers direct airlift and sealift to Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, as well as road, and rail assets to provide a rapid response should immediate actions be required,” the senators wrote in the letter to Esper.

The Charleston, area “would offer the personnel assigned to AFRICOM headquarters and their dependents a lower cost of living with a diverse range of options for housing, educational opportunities, and spousal employment,” the letter added. Graham had presented a proposal for moving AFRICOM to Charleston earlier in 2011. 

Another option could be the Charleston Naval Base. During the Cold War years, it was a busy and bustling location. The Naval Base is just minutes away from the Joint Base. 

Although Graham and Scott said it would be ideal to set up the headquarters in Africa, they “acknowledge the logistic and strategic challenges associated with this relocation.” 

A location in Africa is not an option due to political reasons. A permanent AFRICOM HQ in Africa is rejected by and is very unpopular with the continent’s countries. It is perceived as an exploitative move and an interference in their domestic affairs. Therefore, AFRICOM is focusing on possible locations in either Europe or the United States.